Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal ran a feature article about nursing homes evicting frail residents. Spokespeople for the nursing homes claimed that these evictions were in accord with federal law, which allows evictions for only a few reasons, such as non-payment of bills, danger to others, or the nursing homes’ inability to provide necessary care.
However, the reporter honed in on the more likely culprit: most evicted residents’ bills are paid by Medicaid, rather than private insurance or Medicare. Medicaid reimbursement is much lower, so nursing homes want to clear Medicaid dependents out in favor of higher paying residents.
This article serves as a warning to boomers who fall for the line of the “eldercare” attorneys and accountants who profit from designing asset-transfers that make middle-class seniors eligible for Medicaid Long-Term Care. Indeed, the ease with which these “advisors” continue to operate causes a big problem for taxpayers as well as seniors, by crowding out private Long-Term Care insurance, a topic addressed by Stephen Moses of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform.
However, I think the WSJ reporter was too easy on Medicare as an adequate payer: it only pays for 100 days of nursing home care after a hospital stay of at least three days.
Americans should be wary of becoming dependent on government when we will be at our most vulnerable. It would be far better for the federal and state governments to give our taxes back to us, improving our ability to buy private Long-Term Care insurance, and extinguish the false hope that the state will be there for us when we need it.